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Recycled illusions


What is it that Buddhists believe? Doesn't it have something to do with being shackled to the wheel of repetition, doomed to repeat life's unlearned lessons from one incarnation to the next, unless, through enlightenment, one can pierce the veils of illusion (or maya), and, free of meaningless strife, become one with the universe?

Sounds good, but it sure ain't happening here in River City. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why, we live in happy ignorance, content to wallow in the world of illusion. And we don't even bother to change illusions -- we prefer to recycle the illusions of the past.

Just last week, City Council heard a presentation on a proposed downtown convention center, Douglas Bruce submitted three new anti-tax petitions, and the vile dead fetus truck was seen to be parked in front of Planned Parenthood every morning. So, in the interest of piercing the outer veils, and moving to a slightly higher plane of existence, let us consider the following phenomena.

For more than 30 years, booster groups have come forth to say the following: Yea, verily, ye of little faith: know you not that, unless ye ante up to build a bright, shining convention center, to which pilgrims from all states will come, singing hosannas and strewing golden shekels upon the peaceful merchants of our town, thereby bringing prosperity without end ... know you not that, absent such a center, tumbleweeds will roll down Tejon Street, owls will roost in the proud towers of the Wells Fargo Bank, and soon the shifting desert sands will cover what was once a proud and prosperous city?

And for all those years, the citizens have yawned and said: You want a convention center? Then you pay for it! So the boosters slink off into the night, and the city manages to grow and prosper anyway. So just as Seinfeld was a show "about nothing," the convention center debate is a nothingburger -- an illusion about an illusion.

And as for the Dougster's new initiatives -- haven't we been here before? Remember when his mini-TABOR charter amendment in 1991 eliminated the city's half-cent sales tax for capital improvements? Thanks, Doug! I'm sure we all share your vision of Colorado Springs: low taxes; no government services; no zoning; no parks; no publicly owned auditoriums, hospitals, museums, or schools; no pesky environmental regulations; and no guv'mint bureaucrats telling us what to do. And all we have to do to is to vote for your recycled tax-cutting schemes come November.

And you've gotta hand it to Mr. Bruce -- he's managed to catch a ride on the anti-abortion truck by authoring an initiative that would sharply restrict abortions at Memorial Hospital. And if the hospital doesn't toe the line, the city would have to sell it. So you know what'll happen if the initiative passes: Bruce will sue within weeks, alleging that a forbidden abortion was performed, and Memorial will spend big bucks defending yet another Bruce-initiated frivolous lawsuit. There must be some grand lesson for all of us here, caught up as we are in Dougie's world of illusion, one bereft of reason, common sense or even a tenuous connection with reality.

A few days ago, even as the dead fetus truck was parked in front of Planned Parenthood on West Colorado Avenue, the facility's sewer backed up in the middle of the day, making toilets and sinks unusable. A plumber promised to be there in a few minutes, but called half an hour later to decline the job because of "moral considerations."

Think about this for a moment. Whether you approve of abortion or not, this is a health-care facility, and abortion is far from the only medical procedure performed therein. A backed up sewer presents a grave danger to both patients and staff. Refusing to fix it is akin to a firefighter refusing to respond to a fire because he doesn't agree with the politics of the person whose house is ablaze.

Meanwhile, the fetus truck flagrantly violates not only common decency, but also half a dozen city sign ordinances -- not that the city has the guts to take 'em on.

Interesting, considering the city sign nazis brusquely confiscated a couple of political yard signs I had planted in front of my house some months ago. I thought it was free speech, but, to paraphrase Orwell, all speech is free, but some speech is free-er than others. And signs, politics, the Dougster, the convention center ... it's all maya, airy and insubstantial, the confusing scrim that keeps us from experiencing truth.

If only.


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